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President Obama officially ended the policy of indiscriminate reception for Cuban citizens

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President Obama has officially put an end to the policy of indiscriminate reception for Cuban citizens , renamed “wet foot, dry foot” and inaugurated by President Clinton in ’95. This choice is part of the normalization of relations between the US and Cuba. For 20 years, the Cuban government was widely criticized by the American policy which in fact has encouraged the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Cuban citizens tired of the oppression of the communist government. The large Cuban community living in the US, especially in Florida, is divided on the subject, some see an opportunity for many Cubans who have found a better life in America to return to their country by virtue of the improved medium living conditions, but others worry that this measure will be exploited by the government of L’Havana to pursue all those exiles who left Cuba for political reasons, also fear that the government makes it impossible to leave for the US.

Fidel Castro’s legacy

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On the 25th of November, Fidel Castro died at the age of 90, after governing Cuba from 1959 to 2008. As every man that changed the history course, his actions caused both admiration and resentment. Cuba declared 9 days of National mourning to honour the father of the revolution. The leader’s remains are exhibited at the José Martí Memorial in Havana and they will be carried to Stantiago de Cuba, where the funeral is due to be celebrated on the 4th of December. It is important to remember who was this personality who deeply influenced the course of the twentieth century.

Fidel Castro was born in 1926, in a wealthy family. He studied law at University and when he became a lawyer decided to take a stand for the poorest farmers, against the foreign companies on the island. His ideals led him to organize a first action against the Batista’s regime in 1953. However, the Moncada attack failed, and Castro was arrested. During the trial, he made his own defense speech, called “History will absolve me”. On that occasion, he demonstrated a great talent in public speech.

During the exile in Mexico, Fidel organized the revolution and met some of his future companions like Ernesto Guevara. The “Che” declared that he was fascinated by Castro’s charisma, so he decided to join the Cuban expedition. The revolution succeeded in 1959, thanks to the support of the population, as well as the clever use of the media.

Castro nationalized the foreign companies and properties on the island. This worsened the relations with the US, whose government imposed an economic embargo on Cuba. Fidel had to deal with the threat of an isolation of Cuba, so he decided to accept the protection of the Soviet Union.

However, the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1989 marked the most difficult moment in the Cuban revolution. The end of the economic support offered by the Soviet Union, caused a deep economic crisis. In 1990, the Cuban government declared the beginning of a “Special period”, in which it would adopt a series of measures to assure decent living conditions to the population. The government also adopted measures that changed the economic system, allowing small private businesses and foreign investments.

Castro’s foreign policy focused on the support to the anti-colonial and revolutionary movements in developing countries. Cuba sent military consultants to many countries like Bolivia, Congo and Angola. However, Cuba also carried out humanitarian missions in the poorest countries, sending doctors and offering scholarships to young people unable to access to education in their countries.

Let’s focus now on the most controversial aspects of Castro’s domestic policy. The most criticized policies were the restrictions on private property, businesses and the lack of free elections (including the opposition forces). Many Cubans decided to leave the country in order to find a better standard of life abroad. In fact, the economic deprivation, mainly dependent on the embargo, is considerable. However, the Cuban system obtained great achievements in welfare. The National health service is excellent and completely free, as well as all levels of education. The crucial point is that Cuba is not a parliamentary and representative regime, it is a socialist regime. As a consequence, in Cuba there is only one party, and the elections are held in order to choose the members of an Assembly that makes political decisions without having the power of changing the socialist nature of the State.

To sum up, Castro changed the Cuban history and his revolution was an example for the people who fought against a colonial or neo-colonial regime. He showed them that it was possible to achieve independence and to find a National development strategy, not imposed by any other country. If many people did not share the communist ideals of Castro, the most of them recognized the efforts made by Cuba to gain its independence. Castro’s policy influenced the international stage. Even though he was widely criticized during his life, today the media are reconsidering part of his actions. After the death of the Cuban leader, we have to ask ourselves whether History absolved him from all the accusations or not.

The uncertain future of the relations between Cuba and the US

Americas/Politics di

Over the last two years, the relations between Cuba and the US have improved significantly. Obama’s administration carried out a great negotiation process through the last presidential mandate. The major points of Obama’s foreign policy towards Cuba have been the restore of diplomatic ties, the efforts to lift the embargo and the fight to close the Guantanamo prison. However, this period of reconciliation between the two countries is now threatened by the uncertain position that will assume the next President of the US, Donald Trump.

Cuba and the US severed diplomatic ties in 1961, after the revolutionaries headed by Fidel Castro took the power in 1959. The main reason of this choice was the fact that the new Cuban government nationalized all the US Companies and properties on the island. As a consequence, since 1960 the  US government imposed progressive economic sanctions on Cuba.

In 2014, after a period of bilateral talks, Obama and Raúl Castro announced that the two countries would restore diplomatic relations. In that occasion they reached an agreement on a prisoner swap. The peace talks were encouraged by Pope Francis.

In April 2015, President Obama and Raúl Castro met at the Summit of the Americas in Panama. It was the first time the leaders of the two countries met since 1961. Finally, in July 2015 Cuba and the US succeeded in restoring diplomatic ties, and embassies were opened in both countries. The reconciliation was accomplished when Obama visited Cuba in March 2016.

Nevertheless, there are some unsolved problems between the two countries. The first and the most difficult to solve is the embargo. The embargo has been partially lifted by Obama’s administration, by restoring commercial flights between the two countries, removing travel bans as well as restrictions on remittances and bank services. However, Obama couldn’t lift the embargo in a definitive way because of the opposition of the US Congress, which has to express its approval on the measure. Another unsolved problem of the negotiations with Cuba is the Guantanamo prison. The prison was opened in 2002 on a piece of territory of the Cuban island, which was taken by the US as a compensation in 1903 since they sustained Cuba in its independence war against Spanish colons. Cuba claims that territory since the revolution succeeded. Obama promised to close the prison in Guantanamo, because the public opinion and many organizations protested for the violations of human rights that were committed in it. In that prison, people suspected of terrorism were detained after the terrorist attacks of 2001, without having access to a fair trial. Even though Obama transferred most of the prisoners to other places, assuring the respect of their rights, he couldn’t close the prison so far.

The recent election of President Donald Trump on the 8th of November is probably going to affect the relations between the two countries. However, the way in which the situation will change is not clear enough. In fact, Trump didn’t express a clear position on Cuba. He just said few things about the relations with the Caribbean country. He criticized the agreement reached by Obama, saying that he would probably renegotiate a more advantageous deal. But at the same time he was accused, during the presidential campaign, of violating the embargo some years ago by sending executives of his Company to Cuba in order to find out if it was possible to do business on the island.

Hot Spot – The Crisis Areas

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There are several hot spot in the world. The International press shown below talk about geopolitical crisis, wars and clashes in Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and South America.

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Syria
October 3
The Syrian military has called on antigovernment forces to lay down their weapons and evacuate the
besieged city of Aleppo, which is under a severe aerial attack by Syrian and Russian aircraft. The call on October
2 came as Syrian and Russian planes unleashed dozens of air strikes on the rebels and some 250,000 civilians still
living in the different parts of Aleppo controlled by antigovernment forces. In the meantime Stephen O’Brien, the
UN humanitarian aid chief for Syria, called again for immediate international action to stop the attack on the
city, which is Syria’s largest.

Kirbin US State Department spokesman announced the stop to the ceasefire dialogue with Russia and set
up a joint military cell to target terrorists. The comunications between the two countries continue to avoid
“incidents” in reciprocal counterterrorism actions in Syria.

October 4
A suicide bomber struck a wedding in northeast Syria as the bride and groom were exchanging vows, killing
32 people and wounding dozens. The bomber blew himself up late Monday in the village of Tall Tawil in the
Hassakeh province where a Kurdish party official was getting married. About 100 people were wounded,
according to the medical source in the city who gave the updated toll.

October 5
A Turkish soldier has been killed in clashes with Islamic State group militants in northern Syria, Turkish
media reported on Wednesday.Three other soldiers were slightly injured in the confrontation which left 18 IS
dead militants in Ziyara, east of al-Rai town, Anadolu news agency said.

The US State Department said in a statement on Tuesday that the United States is looking to reconsider
multilateral and unilateral options for dealing with the ongoing conflict in Syria, including diplomatic, military,
intelligence, and economic options.

 

Afghanistan
September 28
The EU’s memo regarding Afghanistan has been leaked ahead of the Brussels summit making the aid to Afghanistan conditional on acceptance of at least 80,000 deported asylum seekers.

Scores of civilians were allegedly killed in a US airstrike that had targeted the Daesh terrorists in the
eastern Nangarhar province, local officials said. A US drone targeted the hideouts of the Daesh terrorists on
Wednesday’s pre-dawn in the Achin district.

 

Yemen
September 28
The Supreme Political Council ratified an implementation mechanism to carry out general Amnesty. The resolution made in a meeting here presided by president Saleh al-Sammad and published by official gazette on Wednesday.

Saudi aggression warplanes resumed bombing the capital Sanaa early on Wednesday. They struck alHafa area south of the capital four times.

September 29
The Saudi war jets on Thursday waged an air raid on Serwah district of Mareb province.

In a joint statement presented to the UN Human Rights Council, Save The Children and other international organizations said that more than three million people have displaced due to the ongoing conflict in Yemen forcing two thirds of them to leave their houses for 10 months or more.

October 1
Two citizens were killed on Saturday in Saudi raids on Attan area in the Capital Sana’a.

 

Arabia Saudita
September 28
A report developed by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance revealed a rise in the
number of terrorist attacks during the holy month of Ramadan, amounting to 53 attacks around the world, which
killed 1,576 people and wounded 2,556 Others. Such Attacks ingnore the fact that the holy month is about
forgiveness and worship.

September 29
Police arrested five people, (four foreigners and one Saudi), for links with terrorist groups and
recent terror operations in the Kingdom. The five, arrested this week, are two Syrians, one residing in the
Kingdom, one Indian and one Pakistani residing in the country, and a Saudi. The five are currently detained in
public security prisons and undergoing investigations, security sources said.

October 1
Since his appointment as crown prince in April 2015, Prince Mohammed bin Naif has been assisting
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman in formulating and implementing the Kingdom’s policies on
internal and external fronts.

October 3
Houthi rebels in Yemen are posing a threat to shipping in the strategic Bab Al-Mandab strait, the
Arab coalition supporting the government said Sunday after an attack on an Emirati vessel. The strait is a major
shipping lane between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden leading into the Indian Ocean.

 

Libya
September 28
The head of the Presidential Council (PC) of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Al-Sarraj,
met, on Tuesday, the French President, François Hollande, and the French Foreign Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault,
in Paris. Al-Sarraj, who met Hollande and Ayrault separately, told the French side that any intelligence or
military intervention in Libya must be agreed and coordinated with the PC in Tripoli.

UN Special Envoy Martin Kobler has called for end to illegal migrants being arbitrarily detained, abused
and treated as criminals. The plight of migrants travelling through Libya, particularly those from Sub-Saharan
Africa, is horrific and “utterly unacceptable”, the envoy says. Libya needs to establish an asylum system for
migrants as soon as possible, he believes. Additionally, those who are detained need better protection,
particularly female migrants whom, he says, are liable to sexual abuse.

October 2
The media office of Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous has revealed that its forces lost 8 fighters in the fight on the
outskirts of neighborhood 3 in Sirte against IS militants Sunday, in addition to more than 50 injuries.The media
office confirmed also that a Dutch photographer journalist, Jeroen Oerlemans , was killed in the clashes today.

October 3
Libyan forces of Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous resumed attacks on Sunday against IS militants, who are currently
trapped in their former stronghold of Sirte – specifically inside neighborhood 3 – losing at least six of their
fighters, according to a field hospital casualty list. The list named six killed fighters, three of them from the city of Misurata. In the morning, Libyan forces’ fighter aircraft carried out 6 airstrikes on IS militants in Sirte paving the way for infantry troops to advance into final spots in neighbourhood 3. Reports from Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous said about 10 Is terrorists were killed in Sunday attacks too.

Libyan pro-government forces killed at least 10 Daesh group fighters as they attempted to flee
their besieged stronghold of Sirte, the country’s unity government said on Sunday.

 

Israel
September 28
Israel’s ninth President and former Prime Minister Shimon Peres dies at 93 after suffering a major stroke.

Hamas welcomed the death of former Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres Wednesday,
calling him a “criminal”, while the Palestinian Authority made no official comment. In the Gaza Strip, a
spokesman for the Islamist Hamas terrorist organization commented on Peres’ death, saying that “The Palestinian
people are happy at the death of this criminal. “Shimon Peres was one of the last Israeli founders of occupation.
His death marks the end of an era in the history of the Israeli occupation”.

October 2
Indictments were filed Sunday against six Israeli Arabs from the Shuafat refugee camp in east Jerusalem,
who were accused of forming an ISIS cell and plotting to carry out attacks against Israelis.

October 5
The Obama administration has “strongly” condemned Israel for plans to construct housing on land in Judea
and Samaria, saying it calls Israel’s commitment to a negotiated agreement into question.

Palestinian terrorist in Gaza fired a rocket at Sderot on Wednesday morning, setting off air raid sirens and
narrowly missing homes. The rocket exploded in a road in the southern town, failing to cause physical injuries,
but sending one local resident into shock. Following the attack, an ISIS-linked Salafi jihadists in Gaza claimed
responsibility.

 

Palestine
September 29
Two Palestinian families in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina were forced to
demolish their own homes for being built without licenses on Wednesday, in order to avoid the expensive
demolition fines imposed by the Jerusalem municipality when its employees carry out the demolition themselves.
Between the two families, 15 Palestinians were displaced as a result of the demolitions. Owner of one of the
homes Imad Jaber told Ma’an he was forced to rent a bulldozer to demolish his house, after receiving an order
from the municipality.

October 2
Israeli Occupation Authorities on Sunday decided to close down the Ibrahimi mosque for six days during
the month of October, and open it only for Jewish Israeli settlers. Local sources in Hebron said that the mosque
will be closed down for Muslims during the days (3, 4, 6, 12, 18, 19 October) while Israeli settlers will be given
full privilige of entering it. In addition, IOF has been intensely preventing the Muslim call for prayers (Adan), and searching Palestinian worshippers upon entrance.

October 3
Some 45 right-wing Israelis escorted by Israeli forces toured the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Monday on
the occasion of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. Witnesses said that the group entered the compound
through the Moroccan Gate and later exited through the Chain Gate after performing religious rituals under
armed guard, in violation of long-standing agreements regarding non-Muslim prayer at the compound.

October 5
Israeli tanks on Wednesday morning struck a ‘Hamas site’ in Beit Hanoun city in the Gaza strip, after a
rocket was reportedly fired on Sderot northeast of the strip.No casualties were reported on either side. Israel hit
the stripe despite no immediate claim of responsibility. The area was closed off and bomb disposal teams were
working at the site, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Israeli authorities on Wednesday morning lifted a general closure that had been imposed on all passage for
Palestinians traveling between the occupied West Bank and Israel and between the blockaded Gaza Strip and
Israel, which was implemented on Sunday for the three-day Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

 

Lebanon
September 28
Hashem Shehab known as Khodr Kaddoura– prominent figure in “Fath Al-Islam– handed himself in to Army
Intelligence members.

State Security forces raided this morning a Syrian refugee camp in the Baalback town of Sarhin, and
apprehended 8 Syrians for clandestine entrance to Lebanon.

September 29
Military Investigative Judge Fadi Sawwan Thursday charged five individuals with belonging to terror
organizations.

Three men were wounded Wednesday evening in a landmine explosion along south Lebanon’s border with
Israel.

October 5
The United Nations Strategic Framework for Lebanon was signed Thursday by U.N. Deputy Special
Coordinator and Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon Philippe Lazzarini, and Secretary-General of
the Cabinet Fouad Fleifel.

 

 

Egypt
September 28
The militant group “Sinai Province” claimed it targeted an army infantry patrol on Monday evening using
several improvised explosive devices (IED) in the Abu Refai region south of Sheikh Zuweid city, according to a
statement. The group also asserted that the operation resulted in the death and injury of several army officers
and conscripts.

Three police officers and a taxi driver were killed in a militant attack on their car in North Sinai’s Al Arish
on Wednesday morning.

September 29
Egypt is closely following the progress of the 9/11 bill in the US and its impact on international relations in
the upcoming period, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ahmed Abou Zeid. According to Abou
Zeid, Egypt agrees that President Barack Obama’s veto against the legislation aligns with international law and
the standards of international diplomatic relations; in addition, it ensures equality and justice and not imposing
internal laws on other countries.

The Cairo Court of Urgent Matters decided on Thursday to suspend the administrative judiciary’s ruling on
the invalidity of the Tiran and Sanafir islands transfer agreement, according to lawyer Khaled Ali. The rights
lawyer said that the defense team will take all legal measures to reverse Thursday’s ruling.

October 2
Five conscripts from the Central Security Forces (CSF) were killed on Saturday evening in an armed attack that targeted their private vehicle while they were driving through Al-Arish city, located in North Sinai. The militants launched the attack from a private vehicle near Al-Arish First District Police Station, opening fire on the conscripts as they returned from holiday.

October 3
A child was killed and two other children were injured in early Monday morning artillery shelling by
the Saudi-paid aggression mercenaries on citizens’ houses in al-Masllob district of Jawf province.

 

Nigeria
October 2
The federal government has restated its willingness to negotiate with the Boko Haram to free the over 200
girls kidnapped from their school in Chibok, Borno State, in 2014.

October 5
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is selling two of his jets in a bid to cut costs as the West African
country battles to overcome a recession.

 

Mali
October 4
Attacks targeting a camp in northern Mali operated by the United Nations peacekeeping mission on
Monday killed one soldier from Chad and wounded eight others, the UN officials said. Olivier Salgado,
spokesperson for the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, said on Monday that after a mortar attack on the camp in
Aguelhok, in the northern Kidal region around 14:00, two vehicles hit improvised explosive devices. According to
preliminary information, four different attacks targeted the UN personnel at the camp in Aguelhok. No group has
claimed responsibility for the attack.

 

 

 

Brazil
September 28
Brazilian Senator Gleisi Hoffmann and her husband, Paulo Bernardo Silva, who both served in the ousted
government of former President Dilma Rousseff, were indicted on Tuesday by the Supreme Court on corruption
and money laundering charges in the Petrobras graft investigation.

October 4
Brazil’s Workers Party suffered its worst-ever result at the polls as voters used Sunday’s local elections
to punish it for a deep recession and a series of corruption scandals. After 13 years in power the party saw its
vote collapse across Brazil in a dramatic confirmation that it is now fighting to retain a seat at the top table of
Brazilian politics following the impeachment of president Dilma Rousseff in August and the decision last month to
try party founder and former president Lula da Silva for corruption.

 

Colombia
September 29
Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño are the most likely to receive
the next Nobel Peace Prize after successfully negotiating an end to half a century of armed conflict, news agency
Reuters reported Thursday.

October 2
Colombia takes to the polls Sunday for a referendum in which the electorate is asked to either ratify or
reject a peace deal between the state and the country’s largest leftist rebel group. The stakes are exceptionally
high as a “Yes” vote for the deal will mean the end of the country’s largest, oldest and most-feared rebel group
and the beginning of a comprehensive, 10-year peace process. A “No” vote would stop this process in its tracks
without there being a Plan B.

October 3
President Juan Manuel Santos will hold talks today with the leaders of all political parties in search of a
broad consensus after Columbians voted ”No” in a referendum called to validate the peace agreements made with
the FARC-EP.

 

Cuba
September 28
Cuba has reaffirmed the willingness to support the international fight against racism, racial
discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, during the UN Human Rights Council, whose sessions
continues today.

The world”s second largest duty-free zone, located in the Caribbean city of Colon, in northern Panama,
is saling in the troubled waters of demand and supply, and a shipwreck seems to be the only destination.

September 29
Cuba’s mission to UNESCO called today for a world free of nuclear weapons, after remembering the serious
danger they represent for world peace and the survival of humanity. In a statement spread on occasion of the
International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, held on Monday, September 26, the permanent
delegation stressed the importance of prioritizing the issue in the current world situation, characterized by
serious threats to international peace and security.

 

 

Russia
September 28
Libya’s Gen. Khalifa Haftar, who leads forces loyal to Tobruk-based Council of Deputies, has requested
Russia to send small arms and equipment

September 29
On Wednesday, John Kerry told Sergei Lavrov that Washington is prepared to suspend bilateral
engagement with Moscow in Syria, unless Russia takes immediate steps to end Syrian operation in the city of
Aleppo and reinstates the ceasefire. In the meantime, Russian General Staff said that Russian experts will travel
to Geneva to resume a consultation with the United States on looking for a new agreement on Syria’s ceasefire.

Moscow refused the American proposal to establish a truce of seven days, according to Russian authorities
this time it would have been used by terrorists to regroup their forces. Russians suggested 48-hours pauses but
Americans refused this proposal. Anyway, Moscow asserted that the only possible solution is diplomatic way and
it accused US to be unable to respect its obligation and promise, made after the agreement of 9th September.

October 2
Primary elections were held in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. After the election, lists of candidates for local government positions will be formed in accordance with the Minsk Agreements.

October 3
On 3rd of October, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered suspension of the plutonium disposal
agreement with the United States over Washington unfriendly actions towards Russia. According to Russian
authorities the new international instability needs to urgent measures to protect the security of Russia. Sergey
Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, added that Moscow will not allow Washington to talk with Russia in a force
language, sanctions and ultimatums while hoping for cooperation in certain areas.

 

Turkey
September 28
The Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ) has undertaken the construction of the
remaining 700 kilometers of the wall being built on Turkey’s border with war-torn Syria, after the construction of
the initial 200-kilometer-long concrete wall on the border was completed jointly by the Defense Ministry and
neighboring provinces governor’s offices.

October 2
One soldier was killed and five were injured in a mortar attack by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’
Party (PKK) in the Çukurca district of the southeastern province of Hakkari on Oct. 1.

 

 

 

 

 

Ukraine
September 28
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine has reported a surge in explosions in Donetsk region
alone to 187 on September 27 from 24 blasts on September 26. Most of the ceasefire violations were recorded in
the Avdiyivka-Yasynuvata-Donetsk airport triangle area, including 180 explosions.

October 3
Combined Russian-separatist forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in eastern Ukraine 48 times in the
past 24 hours, including 20 times in the Mariupol sector, 12 times in the Donetsk sector and 16 times in the
Luhansk sector, according to the press center of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) headquarters.

 

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